JOHOR BARU: The well-being of dangerous wildlife such as venomous snakes and protected species such as the sun bear, slow loris and leopard cat will be affected if they are kept as pets.
Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director Salman Saaban said in some cases, these wildlife were sourced out from the forest or bought illegally from the black market.
“The illegal wildlife trade, mainly done via cyber crimes, is a new threat to our precious wildlife.
“Tragically, these highly in demand juveniles were separated from their parents prematurely, and many owners do not know the basics of caring for them,” said Salman, adding that humans were also highly susceptible to diseases transmitted from wildlife.
From 2013 to last year, Perhilitan said there were 64 cases with 76 suspects arrested in efforts to combat cyber crimes.
A total of 463 complaints were also received on illegal wildlife advertisements on social media from 2016 to April this year.
Salman said Perhilitan was in the midst of amending the Wildlife Conservation Act by giving special provisions on wildlife cyber crime issues.
“Loopholes make it difficult for us to take action against wildlife cyber crimes,” he said.
Many of these protected animals, which are kept as pets, vary between different species of birds, reptiles and mammals.
In Johor, the most popular species are the white-rumped shama, hill myna, red jungle fowl, ball python and iguana.
Salman said there were three reported cases of protected animals kept as pets last year, and only three so far this year.
“The public are allowed to keep protected wildlife in their homes if they have a valid licence.
“Their welfare and safety such as ample food, hygiene and suitable living space must also be looked into,” he said, adding that their presence should not be a threat or disturbance to others.